Over 80,000 state contracts 'prone to abuse': ACT

Over 80,000 state contracts were found to be prone to graft by the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand's (ACT) artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm.

In a Facebook post, ACT secretary-general Mana Nimitmongkol said the organisation has flagged over 80,000 state contracts over the past seven years, in an effort to show that corruption persists despite repeated promises by officials to abide by the rules on project management and procurement.

According to the ACT's analysis, the top 10 state agencies whose projects need to be watched closely are the Royal Irrigation Department with 6,197 projects flagged as prone to abuse, followed by the Department of Provincial Administration (2,513), and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (2,111).

Next up are the Department of Rural Roads (1,966), Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (1,503), Department of Highways (1,020), Provincial Waterworks Authority (993), Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (949), Department of Water Resources (828) and the Provincial Electricity Authority (725).

Mr Mana said an AI programme was used to review the government's online procurement system (e-GP), run by the Comptroller General's Department.

While the review indicated many contracts contained ambiguities and are prone to corruption, it did not mean that graft has taken place, Mr Mana said.

The review was intended to let state agencies know that many of their procurement contracts need to be reworked, he said.

Mr Mana said that in some projects, many firms bought bidding envelopes though only a few of them actually took part in the tender.

In some cases, only one company offered a price which mirrored or almost mirrored the median price set by the state agency concerned.

This suggested collusion among firms pretending to independently vie for the same projects.

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